[Okay, one more quick post before I introduce myself. I happen to have one of the bladders in question, so I wanted to tackle this now.]
On Monday, the New York State Senate voted down the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in committee. Bathrooms. Showers. Yawn.
I'm honestly surprised that I'm as upset about the bill failing as I am. It's soooooooo every other day of my life.
Since I'm the first person to address GENDA in the history of the internet, a few points: (Actually, these points have been made on the internet once. Or twice.)
Again with the bathrooms and showers?
Okay, I'm personally really skittish about female-only locker rooms (and I'm only in them within a derby setting). The only thing that makes me feel okay about it is that I literally know (and have had the crap beaten out of me by) everyone present. Also, there's no nudity. Or showers. Or paid positions.
Still, the thing about showers? I really don't know that there are very many folks out there that don't find being around naked co-workers awkward. I have no idea how genital shape changes the math there.
[Fun fact that some of you might not know: A very common anti-androgen that a lot of trans women (myself included) take is a powerful diuretic. I pretty much live in the ladies' room. Basically, I'm like Eudora Welty's Sister, assuming that story was about something else entirely].
Are trans people supposed to hold it until we get home? To the bathroom in our home? That we can't afford? Because we don't have a job? Because there's nobody who will hire us? Because there's no GENDA? And we can't work for more than 45 minutes at a time? Because we have to go to the bathroom? At home?
That might be funny, but it's seriously mean-spirited, ridiculous, and I want to smash something. There's no tinkering or compromising or otherwise getting around the bathroom and shower “issues.” Either there's a GENDA or there isn't. Seriously, this bathroom business is an excuse, plain and simple.
This bathroom business? It tacitly encourages violence. Violence that actually happens.
Honestly, I'm torn about how much of our energy and hopes the trans community should invest in non-discrimination statutes. Things like GENDA don't directly end discrimination. I, for one, have been fired from a job (for what I assume.... yeah) in a jurisdiction that had a non-discrimination ordinance on the books. But as hard as non-discrimination statutes are to enforce (where the willpower to do so even exists), a world without them is even worse.
The State of New York (by way of 13 State Senators) basically said that trans and gender non-conforming people don't have the right to be in bathrooms that match their identities. That's not good. Do police officers (or anyone else) have the right to remove people from bathrooms that they don't have a right to be in? That gets violent. And it does happen. The folks who are opposing this statute are responsible for this violence.
It's not good to leave folks behind
Empire State Pride Agenda, (the folks who originally alerted me to this mess) fought hard for SONDA (the Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act) in Albany. Note that their SONDA timeline starts with Stonewall (me: Sylvia Rivera, blah, blah, blah, wha?!!!?!!) and ends, appropriately enough, with SONDA becoming law. I'm not going to talk about the present leadership of the Pride Agenda, because I'm new here (to New York, that is). I will, however, point out that I still don't have the right to work at a job where I can go to the bathroom.
On a related note, GENDA at the Federal level, bathrooms, Barney Frank, leaving folks behind, etc., You know.
Here's the New York State Senate's website. If you're a New Yorker, you might contact your Senator to let them know how you feel about their stance in favor (or against) GENDA. Or anything, really. They've had a fun run of late.